News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Commentary


Lost Airlines
Disappear into the Bermuda Triangle of mergers
by WKSU's PAUL GASTON


Commentator
Paul Gaston
 
This week, Cleveland's hub airline, Continental, will take on some new partners, such as United, and say good-bye to some old ones, such as Delta. The new group is called the Star Alliance. It may bode well for Cleveland travelers. But the change has commentator Paul Gaston thinking about airlines no longer with us-- and about what has been lost in the age of deregulation.
Click to Listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:01)


 

      Remember Northwest Airlines? Or, stretching back a bit further, Northwest Orient airlines? Or how about that most evocative of airline names, Pan American World Airways’? When I hear those names,  I think of propeller-driven clippers landing in the harbors of Singapore and Hong Kong.   Fly to Minneapolis, home to Northwest for more than a half-century, and just about all you’ll see is Delta.
     That diminishment of the Northwest flag has reminded me of Pan Am and of all the other airlines I once flew and--most of all--of why flying was memorable in ways not likely to be seen again.
     There was Southern Airways, where the slogan was “hospitality.” the airplane was likely to be a DC 3, but the coffee was strong and the biscuits were fluffy. You had to climb the aisle to your seat because the plane sat on its tail and would not level off until taxiing down the runway, but sometimes the pilot would turn around to chat with the passengers. And there was Piedmont Airlines, which served small towns in the Shenandoah valley and could provide an unforgettable thrill ride through the blue ridge mountains.
     Trans Texas Airways, one of continental’s direct ancestors, connected towns mostly in Texas and Louisiana--and that was plenty. I once spotted a loose fuel cap on the wing of a tat plane after a takeoff from Houston. When I got up the courage to mention this to the flight attendant, she raced up to the cockpit, and the plane banked sharply to return to the airport. I was rewarded for my vigilance when my connecting flight in Lafayette was held ninety minutes--just for me.
     And there was Ozark, with its hub in Saint Louis. When they bought their first jets, they served wine baskets to everyone. it seems a shame that they were taken over by TWA.  TWA? Trans World Airlines. Flying coach from Saint Louis to Los Angeles, you would receive a menu with your choice of dinner entrees. Oh, that’s right. TWA is another airline gone. Twenty years ago Saint Louis was a bustling international hub. Now your voice will echo down empty concourses.
     There is much to be grateful for when it comes to air travel today. Deregulation increased affordability, for one thing. And for another? Well, you no longer have to go outside to board your plane. Unless you do.
     But when I hear of another airline disappearing and realize we will now encounter more or less the same few airlines everywhere, I think back to the days of Allegheny, Lake Central, Pacific Southwest.  To when families would wear their best clothes to the airport. To Branniff’s colorful planes and even more colorful flight attendants. To coast-to-coast-to-coast with National Airlines. To continental’s proud birds with golden tails. To the days when flying could be fun. Could be elegant. Could be exciting. AND often was.
Listener Comments:

As safe and reliable as flying is, it is a shame how much has been lost in the age deregulation.


Posted by: David (Ohio) on November 22, 2009 12:23PM
Gone but not forgotten as a retired Northwest Airline employee of 40 years.


Posted by: carol (maryland) on October 26, 2009 8:15AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

FitzGerald isn't giving up, but many Stark voters are worried, wary and weary
SB5 stands for "Snow Ball 5" because voters have about a snow ball's chance of remembering what it was.

Columbus groups are trying to pass a Bill of Rights to combat fracking
Its about time we make a stand against the criminal actions of an entire Indsutry.

Crystal Ball says Ohio governor's race is done
How much is the Kasich campaign paying you to keep repeating the phrase "woman who is not his wife"? Fitzgerald was in the car with a friend who happens to be f...

Plane that crashed killing Case students is a popular training aircraft
The following is incorrect. The last few words should read "UNDER maximum gross take-off weight." “They have a normal take-off speed and all those take-off...

Exploradio: The never-ending war against superbugs
Super Federico ,we are so proud of you ,and very lucky to be among your friends . Keep it up human kind needs people like you to survive .Thanks for being so d...

Ohio's Lyme disease-carrying tick population is exploding
Interesting report. The last sentence needs some editing. It isn't a good idea to "save garments carrying ticks for analysis." The garments carrying t...

Teach for America enters third year in Ohio
For more background on TFA, check out http://reconsideringtfa.wordpress.com/

Faith leaders hold week-long prayer vigil at Ohio Statehouse
I think this is the wrong link to the audio. Its Andy Chow about cigarette taxes.

A $30 million plan to turn Cleveland's Public Square from gray to green
The current plan is for the Land Bank, RTA, and Mr. Jeremy Paris to run a bus line through the new Public Square and cutting the park in half. Save Public Squar...

Medina County residents question safety of proposed natural gas pipeline
I'm very concerned about this nexus project. I've received mail requesting my permission to allow the company to survey my property. I don't understand how thi...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University